Acknowledged to be one of the few British politicians who became more left-wing
after having actually served in government, former veteran left-wing campaigner Tony Benn
has died at home aged 88. Tony was a British Labour Party politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for 50 years
, and a Cabinet Minister under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. His legacy can be seen in postage
, in the powerful five questions
, the speeches he gave
, and his diaries
"Britain's poor were absolutely and relatively better off until Thatcher was elected in 1979.
Since then, the bottom half of society is worse off than it was in 1983." "In 1945, when Thatcher turned 20, the richest 0.01 per cent people in Britain received 123 times the mean national average income. By the time she turned 40 in 1965 that had halved to 62 times, and the year before she came to power, in 1978, it was at its minimum: just 28 times the average income."
The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census
have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide
to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic
and a set of Top 10 Charts
. [more inside]
Yesterday, the leaders of the three largest political parties in the UK
engaged in a live televised election debate
for the first time in history. Most
that Nick Clegg, the leader of Britain's perennial third party the Liberal Democrats, made the best impression
in yesterday's first of three weekly debates
leading up to the general election on May 6. The progressive-leaning Guardian even goes so far as to claim that he is now prime ministerial material
This being Metafilter you will undoubtedly ask, "how does Cory Doctorow figure into all of this?" Well, he agrees with Nick
on the Digital Economy Act
. Then again, Nick is agreed with
quite a lot
Most people assumed the Tories would walk the coming election. But with their poll lead evaporating, what would a Conservative defeat mean for Britain – and David Cameron? What happens if David Cameron loses? [more inside]
"Families of soldiers killed in Iraq launch party to challenge ministers"
. Reg Keys, father of a British serviceman killed in the Iraq War, stood directly against Tony Blair in his Sedgefield constituency as an independent candidate (see Wikipedia for a brief summary of independent movements in the UK, USA and Canada
) in the 2005 UK election, taking 10% of the vote. A founder member of Military Families Against The War
, he is also at the centre of a new political movement, Spectre, that aim to stand up to 70 members of bereaved families directly against pro-war government and cabinet members in the 2009 election, and each by-election before then. See also the Guardian's Guide to anti-war websites
Britain's New Labour have very short memories!
They are trying to persuade people to vote for them by highlighting exactly how they got in to power themselves
as being a fault in the Conservative Party
UK politician chooses his blog over his party: Paul Leake
, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Durham, was asked by his local party to remove any "controversial" posts from his weblog
and to give them the right to vet future posts. Denis Jackson, another Liberal Democrat on Durham City Council, said that the Labour councillors were using the blog to find "lurid headlines". Leake refused, and stepped down from the party
. He'll now serve his constituents as an independent. [Via The Political Weblog Project
Highlight of the election coverage:
George Galloway is the leader of Respect
and won a historic and unexpected victory against the Blairite Oona King, on an anti-war ticket. He was then interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, an increasingly controversial interviewer well known for asking questions absurd numbers of times until they get answered - a technique which arguably backfires here. You might want to watch Galloway's acceptance speech
first. [Windows Media. My two cents: Paxman is an egregious cock, more interested in getting his eternally righteous indignation across than any issues.]
I'm amused by today's Editorial in The Sun
. It starts off with how a protest vote against Labour
may mean 'you could be signing a young person's death warrant' due to the Liberal Democrat party's drugs policy
The second half of the newspaper's editorial is a tribute to Anthony Wakefield
... whose death came, of course, as part of the Blair government's war in Iraq... a basic irony that the newspaper has failed to pick up on. [via Bloggerheads
For those who don't know, The Sun - which backs Blair
, though not like this
- is the UK's biggest selling newspaper
and is owned by Rupert Murdoch.
The truth behind the spin?
- three party political broadcasts (.wmv) made by Lee and Dan
, the men behind the VW Suicide Bomber
advert, and commissioned by the UK's Channel 4
The UK local elections have taken place
, and for the first time ever forced the ruling Labour government into third position, with their worst showing in history
. Is this just a mid-term blip, or the culmination of the huge Iraq backlash that will topple the government? With Bush in trouble too, will any of the warring leaders be left come November? And can the Big Intervention
website topple Blair himself?
At what point does a government have to stop and wonder if it's judged the mood correctly?
The UK government manages to bribe a rebel
with a cushy job, but not one
, not two
, but three
other MPs walk away from the government in one day.
Are things going wrong in the UK?